You’ve Lost Your Job, Now What?
Updated: May 25
Losing your job can feel like losing part of your identity, especially if it is sudden. You might be stressed, and might be worried about finances, especially if you don't have enough saved. You might miss coworkers who have become friends. All of this is normal, but can paralyze you and make you feel unsure how to move forward.
Here are some tips and action items to help you move on after being laid off:
File for Unemployment
This should be the very first thing you do. Don't delay, even if you aren't sure you're eligible. Additionally, you should:
Find out if you are eligible for COBRA. If not, look into other healthcare options.
Ask what benefits terminated employees are eligible for.
Ask for a severance package. Worst case scenario they'll say no.
Get contact information and permission to use people as a reference.
Deal with your Emotions
Mindfulness can help control the roller coaster. Another thing that can help is listing your emotions and why you feel them. What are you scared of? What are you sad about? This can help you manage these feelings in a healthy way.
Set a New Schedule and Routine
Depression can set in rapidly if you don't keep to some kind of routine. Continue to get up at the same time in the morning and plan your day properly. Having a schedule will keep your mind occupied and engaged.
Create Clear Objectives and Goals
Make sure that your goals are:
Things you can control. A goal of "Get three interviews by the end of the month" can easily fall flat. Instead, set a goal to send in X number of applications per week (per week is often better than per day).
Feasible within the time you have available so you don't burn out.
Craft a Budget
Not knowing when you will have money again is extremely difficult. Even if you can get unemployment, the amount is likely to be lower than what you were making before. Crafting a budget and sticking to it can help you control financial stress. You will need to cut out some unnecessary expenses. However, it’s better to do now than when you are looking at your bills and deciding which ones to pay.
Update your Resume
Pull out your resume and dust it off. Ask a trusted friend to review it. If an old coworker you like also got laid off, maybe you can trade resume checking duties (and stay in touch… there is nothing wrong with staying in touch with people you like!). This is also the perfect time to consider a career change, especially if you were already thinking about one.
Learn a New Skill
Although looking for a new job can feel like a full-time job, most people aren't going to be spending all day just sending out applications. Look for opportunities to learn a new skill or a new language. There are a lot of free courses out there on all kinds of subjects.
Update your Social Media
Make sure that your LinkedIn profile says that you're looking for work. Employment recruiters are out there and you might get lucky. It's also worth contacting a temp staffing agency who might help. Be sure to update Facebook and any other social media you use as well. An employment recruiter is more likely to reach out if your social media is clean and professional.
Sustain your Network
Just because you no longer have a job, doesn't mean you should lose your entire personal network. Instead:
Exchange contact details with coworkers you like and add them on LinkedIn and Facebook.
Ask your friends if they know of anyone who might be hiring. You might be surprised.
Low key, informal networking can be a remarkable source of potential opportunities.
Ask For Help
Community resources are there to help you. Public libraries often have everything you need to produce a resume and may even have career counselors on staff. There is nothing shameful about visiting a food bank if you need to. While you hunt for your perfect job, look into temporary staffing services.
If you need help finding a new job, Optimum Staffing Solutions is always looking for good candidates for placement. We are an experienced contract staffing agency. Contact us to find out what we can do for you.